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Herts County Council prepares free meals scheme for schoolchildren for February half term

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More than 20,000 schoolchildren have benefitted from Herts County Council food vouchers – but 15% of eligible families have yet to download their supermarket coupons.

The scheme, funded from the Government's Covid-19 Winter Grant Scheme, provided a £30-a-child voucher to cover the two-week Christmas holiday period without free school meals.

Cllr Terry Douris, HCC's executive member for education, said: "We're delighted so many families engaged with the scheme and made use of the supermarket vouchers over the festive season. We hope it took some pressure off parents and carers at this difficult time.

Cllr Terry Douris (44154851)
Cllr Terry Douris (44154851)

"We still want to ensure that every child who was entitled to a free school meal over the Christmas holidays can access that support, and so I'd encourage those remaining families who have yet to download their vouchers to please do so before the deadline. There is help on hand if you're not familiar with the online process or need the information in an alternative format."

The last day to download vouchers is Thursday February 11, when the scheme will close, although the coupons will remain valid for up to 12 months.

Plans are under way to roll out the voucher scheme, or similar, again during February half-term. Eligible families will be contacted directly by their schools and colleges in the coming weeks.

The council is also developing a holiday activity and food programme for children – in partnership with Herts Sports Partnership and Hertfordshire Community Foundation – which will ensure children across the county have access to activities and healthy food in the 2021 Easter, summer and winter holidays.

HertsHelp is also able to provide advice and practical support. Call 0300 123 4044, email info@hertshelp.net or visit www.hertshelp.net.

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